“Masquerade: Scripturalizing Modernities Through Black Flesh”

Watch: Conversations on Caste and Race
May 28, 2021
Scripturalizing from the Senate Floor
December 18, 2021
Watch: Conversations on Caste and Race
May 28, 2021
Scripturalizing from the Senate Floor
December 18, 2021

“Masquerade: Scripturalizing Modernities Through Black Flesh”

“Masquerade: Scripturalizing Modernities Through Black Flesh,” the exhibition, is open to all online.

Click on the image/link to browse: http://pitts.emory.edu/masquerade

This exhibition invites the viewer to consider how we produce and make use of “scriptures” understood broadly as cultural discourse and media. This means seeing scriptures as reflective of the basic “play-element” in culture, as rites, performances (song and dance, etc.), and their varied veiling and unveiling operations and effects. Thus, the exhibition takes the title “Masquerade” as the term that captures what is the phenomenon before us.

In order to understand how reality is “masqueraded,” made up, and maintained, the exhibition takes up the freighted phenomenon of Race/Racialization/Racism as arguably the most complex and persistent vector or transporter of the modern masquerade. Race/racialization/Racism is focused particularly but not exclusively (after colonial-era points of contact) on Black-fleshed peoples–as powerful and disturbing and intensive drivers of the production and arrangement of modernities, for the making and structure of the modern Order of Things–what the curator terms “scripturalization” (and the related terms scripturalizing, scripturalism). Examination of how scripturalization works and what has propelled it is examined through focus on the persistent (hyper)signification of Black flesh.

The sharpness of this focus is facilitated by the window opened by a late eighteenth century English-speaking/-writing ex-slave, Olaudah Equiano/Gustavus Vassa, in his telling of his own “interesting,” complex life story, published in 1789. This narrative is used throughout the exhibition in order to stress some of the major workings and resultant implications and ramifications of the scripturalization of Black flesh for the construction of and responses to, and refractions of, modernities, the realities in which we all are imbedded.

The hope of the curator is that this exhibition and its accompanying panel event will provoke further thinking and conversation about how all of us have been formed, with what consequences, and what are special challenges ahead for us.


Dr. Vincent L. Wimbush, Curator
Scholar of Religion & Director
Institute for Signifying Scriptures
Dr. P. Kimberleigh Jordan
Associate Director of Educational Design
Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion
Dr.  Miles P Grier
Assistant Professor, The Department of English
Queens College, City University of New York
Dr.  Jacqueline Hidalgo
Chair and Professor of Latina/o Studies and Professor of Religion
Williams College
Dr. Rosetta E. Ross
Professor of Religion
Spelman College

Dr. Rachel Schwaller
Department of History
Department of Religious Studies
University of Kansas
Dr. Cécile Coquet-Mokoko
Professor of US Cultural History, African American Studies and Gender Studies
Vice Dean of the College of Humanities
Université Versailles St Quentin
IECI, Département des Langues
Dr. Velma Love
Story Catalysts Coaching and Consulting 
Adjunct Faculty
Interdisciplinary Studies
Interdenominational Theological Center

Dr. Shay Welch
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Spelman College
Dr. Carolyn Jones Medine
Director, Institute for African American Studies, Professor of Religion
University of Georgia
Dr. Marla F. Frederick
Asa Griggs Candler
Professor of Religion and Culture
Candler School of Theology
Emory University


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